Last night, my coworkers and I were discussing politics and the upcoming Inauguration. Many of my coworkers here in Blue California were vowing not to watch the Inauguration. I remained quiet, or shared the opinions of others I found interesting or entertaining. Privately I was more conflicted. On one hand, I abhor many of the policies and positions of the President-Elect. On the other hand, the man did win the election. President Obama, the First Lady, Former President Clinton and Former Secretary of State Clinton will be in attendance and insist on this peaceful transition of power. And as a student of history and politics, it seems almost as though I am being derelict in my duty as a student of history and a future educator.
But as time went on, I realized that I simply could not watch the Inauguration. It would be wrong of me to watch. And this has nothing to do with the fact that I voted for Clinton and she lost. I was going to gladly watch had McCain won in 2008. I would have watched in 2012 had Romney won as well. I disagreed with them, but I never doubted their intentions nor their ability to lead.
What changed my mind was nothing more than the unrelenting attack on America’s norms and traditions as well as the authoritarian bent the President-Elect has taken. Trump has attacked our morals, insulted people who I hold dear and flagrantly disregarded norms and traditions in America. As an educator, maybe I have some academic duty to watch; but as a human and as an educator of people of color, religious minorities, queers, women and people of various immigration statuses I can not bear to tacitly endorse the ravings of a man so vain and power hungry. I feel that I can look anyone in the eyes and say that they are more important to me that this.. They have value. They have worth. Whether or not the man in the White House agrees.
Another factor in my decision is the rolling back of programs I hold dear and the shocking lack of real vetting of critical nominees. Betsy DeVos seems to not grasp even the basic fundamentals of education, yet we want her to run the Department of Education. Governor Rick Perry apparently had no clue what the Department of Energy did (neither did Trump) and he vowed to eliminate it in his disastrous bid for President in 2012. The EPA nominee doesn’t know what the acceptable amount of lead in water is (how about 0%?). The Health and Human Services nominee took apparent bribes. The Secretary of State nominee won’t call Putin a war criminal and won’t answer questions about climate change. The Secretary of Defense, arguably one the more qualified and “normal” picks is wishy washy on women serving as equal members of the military, despite proof of their capability. The Attorney General nominee is going to a man that was too racist to get a judicial post in the 1980s. And not to mention that the National Security Apparatus is being run by a friend of Putin and peddler of fake news… and no one else. Trump has yet to fill the 40 or so appointed vacancies. And these are just the Senate confirmable positions, with the Exception of National Security Advisor.
President Trump deserved to not be normalized. A man that is incredibly hypocritical, vain, power hungry and selfish deserves resistance. He doesn’t deserve the public’s attention, after all he didn’t win the popular vote.
So i’ll be watching something else Friday. Though I understand the need for the Obamas, Bidens, Clintons and others to normalize this transition of power for the sake of the republic and democracy, I cannot join them in my participation. Let the political elite enshrine this continuation. As for the people: we should resist.